slow down for faster muscle growth db raises

Slow Down For Faster Muscle Growth




Combo I keep forgetting to the padlock in the lockerroom?

Code to the safe containing a Trezor filled with BitCoin?

Or the key to unlocking all the gains promised to you by supplement advertisements?

These numbers are used to indicate rep tempo (I don’t have any crypto and don’t use a locker).

While it sounds simple-”rep tempo” is just how fast you lift the weight, right?-it’s a deeper understanding to gain clarity on how you can use this modifier for a major training boost.

My first encounter with workouts including specified rep tempo came during a 4 month period that yielded, to date, my most epic transformation yet.

Long story short, I had decided to get off “Someday Isle” and finally build the body I had been coveting since I was a squishy pimply fat kid. I went to Armbrust outside of Denver (where Phil Heath trains) and demanded somebody give me the contact info of the best trainer around.

We started working virtually (I left to go make my professional stage debut in Fort Worth), and these workout were freaking brutal.

Taking 4 seconds on every eccentric portion of every rep for a whole workout just obliterated me. But I was getting stronger and most importantly, my body was changing quick.

slow down for faster muscle growth db raises

Fast forward a few years, and Charles Poliquin’s chapter in Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans sticks out to me. Fascinated by what he had to say, I devoured the info on his website, and he swears by rep tempo training. He breaks it down like this on his site:

“The First Number – Eccentric Contraction

An eccentric contraction occurs when your muscles lengthen under load. An example of this is when you lower the resistance during the descent of the squat. Eccentric training is often neglected by American strength coaches… biomechanist Tom McLaughlin showed that the most successful powerlifters are the ones who have the best control of the load eccentrically.

The Second Number – Pause in the Stretched Position

The moment the barbell makes contact with your chest during the bench press is a good illustration of this isometric pause. Pauses in the “disadvantageous” position (i.e., poor leverage) of a lift, such as the bottom position of a squat, increase intramuscular tension…

The Third Number – Concentric Contraction

The concentric contraction occurs when a muscle shortens, such as when you curl a barbell to your shoulders…

The Fourth Number – Pause in the Shortened Position

This is the type of contraction that occurs at the end of the concentric phase, such as when you lock out your bench press. Pauses in this “advantageous” position (i.e., good leverage) also increase the recruitment of more fast-twitch fibers. Those fast-twitch fibers are the fibers that will provide the most increases in strength and power.

Rep Tempo in Practice

Putting it together, a 4212 rep tempo prescription for the bench press would go like this. You would lower the barbell to your chest in four seconds. You would then pause for two seconds when the bar makes contact with your chest. Right after this, you would press the weight to extended arms in one second, and finally, rest two seconds when the barbell is locked out. This is done before performing another repetition.”

slow down for faster muscle growth incline

I encountered rep tempo again while studying OG of internet fitness John Romaniello’s book The Omega Body Blueprint. He turned my experience with rep tempo training on its head: I had only ever experimented with periods of sustained eccentric portions-some of Roman’s workouts used extended periods of concentric portion.

I don’t want to spoil OBB for you and tell you why he recommends that rep tempo, or tell you how he incorporates it. However, rest assured that varying concentric portion tempi will shock your muscles in a whole new way.

Recently, over the past year, I’ve been varying one of those rep tempi variables on my own: the second number, when the weight is in the “stretched” position.

After analyzing my form on every major lift, I realized something humbling: I was stroking my own ego every time I added weight to the bar. My form was garbage, and I was bouncing all of my lifts.

To powerlifters and those who compete, this will seem obvious, but taking a dedicated pause/eliminating momentum in between reps of bench, overhead press, deadlifts, and rows made a tremendous difference in my physique and quality of my lifts.

I never realized before how much I was relying on what is known as the “stretch reflex” to move the weight.

By increasing my reliance on the pure power of my muscles and not on the momentum of a moving weight, my overall strength and physique have made noticeable gains.

One benefit of varying your rep tempo is obvious: you increase the time under tension of a muscle.

As a recent issue of the publication MASS by Greg Nuckols and co. pointed out, hypertrophy is not dependant a certain amount of reps for sets. Rather, it depends solely on a maximum percentage of muscle fiber being recruited.

Essentially, you could recruit the same amount of muscle fiber in 2 very heavy sets of 6 as you could with 5 moderate sets of 12.

Application of rep tempo variance is a great tool for inducing hypertrophy using sub-maximal loads (don’t play with tempo at your 3-5 rep max), and forces you to keep your mind on muscles while doing so. Even the most seasoned of lifters zone out midway through a longer set, but having to keep consciously focused on each part of each rep leaves you no choice but to keep your mind engaged.

Constant vigilance is the key to perfect form, and perfect form is the key to a bulletproof physique and moving crap-tons of weight.

slow down for faster muscle growth leg press

Try it yourself

Honestly, rep tempo variance is so simple and effective it can be applied to any program at any time. Simply take a set and try it out:

Take 4 seconds to lower the weight, pause at the bottom, then explode upwards using zero momentum or

Lower the weight with help from our girl Gravity, pause at the bottom (I’m big on that right now if you couldn’t tell), then take 2-3 seconds to move the weight back to starting position.

Rinse, repeat and grow.

About the Author

Michael Hewitt helps guys make epic and lasting change to their bodies, minds, and lives. He is the founder of the transformation program "The Anti DadBod Squad: from DadBod to Greek God in 90 Days", author of Statue Jacked and Cheat Codes, designed to optimize your nutrition and training (to apply for ADBS, and to pick up SJ and CCclick here). He is a professional opera singer, performing globally to sold out crowds. Connect with him at, and on all social media accounts @michaelhewitt23.